The Clinical Development of Levodopa Inhalation Powder

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Clinical neuropharmacology


Oral levodopa is the most effective treatment for Parkinson disease, but OFF periods emerge over time. Gastrointestinal dysfunction and food effects impact levodopa absorption, contributing to unpredictable control of OFF periods. Inhaled levodopa powder (Inbrija) is approved for on-demand treatment of OFF periods in patients receiving oral levodopa-dopa decarboxylase inhibitors. The 84-mg dose is administered via a breath-actuated inhaler. It provides pulmonary delivery of levodopa to the systemic circulation and is taken when a patient has an OFF period in between doses of regular oral levodopa medication. The pivotal SPAN-PD trial in patients experiencing OFF periods on oral dopaminergic therapy showed that levodopa inhalation powder 84 mg produced significant improvement in Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale Part III score, as measured 30 minutes postdose at week 12, and improvement was seen as early as 10 minutes. More patients in the levodopa inhalation powder group turned ON within 60 minutes of treatment and remained ON at 60 minutes than in the placebo group. Levodopa inhalation powder can also be used to treat early-morning OFF periods and, when used for up to 12 months, produced no clinically significant differences in pulmonary function compared with an untreated cohort. Levodopa inhalation powder 84 mg increased plasma levodopa concentration rapidly and with less variability than oral levodopa/carbidopa (25/100 mg). Most common adverse event associated with levodopa inhalation powder is cough, found in ~15% of patients in the SPAN-PD trial; otherwise, reported adverse events were consistent with those known to be associated with oral levodopa.

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Humans; Levodopa; Parkinson Disease; Antiparkinson Agents; Powders; Administration, Inhalation; Carbidopa

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